UPDATE: [20th] James Purdy and Others (Capote, Albee, Faulkner, etc.) (1/15/08); ALA 5/22/08-5/25/08)

full name / name of organization: 
Michael Snyder
contact email: 


“James Purdy and Others”

American Literature Association (ALA) Conference
San Francisco, California
Hyatt Regency, Embarcadero Center
May 22-25, 2008

The James Purdy Society seeks proposals of 15-20 minute presentations for
their session at the 19th annual ALA conference. As often remarked by
his admirers, the work of James Purdy (Malcolm, The Nephew, Eustace
Chisholm and the Works, Moe’s Villa) is now woefully neglected both by
popular and academic readers, his recognition wildly incommensurate with
his vision, talent, and achievement. This year the Society seeks to
involve scholars working on other authors who bear some
similarity, “family resemblance,” or parallel to Purdy’s novels, plays,
or poems, in order to illuminate or expand the interpretive possibilities
of each author’s works. Another goal is to create awareness and
promulgate discourse on this singular, under-appreciated author.

The following “Others” in one way or another either 1) bear some
similarity or parallel (or striking contrast) to Purdy in style, themes,
concerns, sensibility, setting, or tone;
2) They have been acknowledged by Purdy as important influences; or,
3) They have championed Purdy in essays, reviews, or public statements:

Truman Capote, Herman Melville, Carson McCullers, Nathanael West, Paul
Bowles, Edward Albee (who adapted Purdy’s novel Malcolm to the stage),
Djuna Barnes, J.D. Salinger, Jonathan Franzen, William Faulkner, Dennis
Cooper, Flannery O’Connor, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Mark
Twain, Dorothy Parker, Franz Kafka, Gore Vidal, J.P. Donleavy, Don
DeLillo, William S. Burroughs, Euripides, Joan Didion, Langston Hughes,
Marianne Moore, Samuel Beckett, Carl Van Vechten, Paul Bowles, Katherine
Ann Porter, Filmmaker John Waters, Quentin Crisp, Philosopher of language
George Steiner, Miguel de Cervantes, Harold Pinter, Ronald Firbank, Saul
Bellow, James Leo Herlihy, Angus Wilson, Matthew Stadler, Dame Edith
Sitwell, Guy Davenport, and John Cowper Powys.

Presentations on “Purdy and Others” may address, but are not limited to,
the following:

Genre questions (Realism? Black Humor? Surrealism? Fantasy? Gothic? Camp?
Tragedy? Postmodernism?)
The Family (dysfunction, maternal and fraternal love, the absent father,
Same-sex desire (repression, expression, tonality, representation)
The grotesque body / disability
Queer / androgynous / sexually indeterminate characters
“I Can’t Go On. I’ll Go On”
Author as Outsider / Outsider characters
The veteran figure
Midwestern literature and idiom / American vernacular
Violence / Suicide / Torture
The Town and The City / urban landscape (Chicago, New York) vs. small
town settings
The Picaresque
The Lost Boy / Orphan / “Half-Orphan”
African American characters
Religion / redemption / the Bible
Narrative frames
Performativity / Performance
Gay / Queer aesthetics
Critical reception (homophobia, “New York Literary Establishment,” genre)

Please send questions or 250-500 word titled abstracts to the program
chair, Michael Snyder. Queries invited. If you plan to submit a proposal,
please send first notice of your intent ASAP.

Deadline for Proposals: January 15, 2008

Michael Snyder
University of Oklahoma
Department of English
Gittinger Hall
Norman, OK 73019-0240

For further general information about the conference, please consult the
ALA website at www.americanliterature.org or contact the conference
director, Professor Maria Karafilis of California State University, Los
Angeles at mkarafi_at_calstatela.edu with specific questions.

Information about the James Purdy Society: www.jamespurdysociety.org or

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Received on Tue Dec 18 2007 - 13:45:14 EST